The Jewish Community Centre on Shelbourne Street, where volunteers like Rose Carr prepare traditional potato latkes leading up to Hannukah, is the administrative centre of the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Federation represents diversity of Jewish life in Greater Victoria

Some 1,500 members of the Jewish faith representing a variety of communities and traditions of religious observance live in the Greater Victoria area and the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island aims to give all of them a home.

“We are an entirely secular organization, so ‘Jewish’ in our case is any Jew — regardless of affiliation or religious commitment,” said David Blades, president. “We represent the Jews on the Island, much like other organizations represent their faith groups, only we don’t have a religious angle to our organization — we are ‘all-encompassing’ or try to be.”

This goal also appears in the wide range of activities, which the federation pursues. It hosts Jewish celebrations, holds events that educate Jewish and non-Jews about Jewish religion and culture, and helps raise funds for various Jewish organizations. They include the Jewish Community Centre and Jewish Family Services.

“So our fund-raising helps seniors and those who need extra help in the Jewish community in Victoria,” said Blades.

This financial support extends throughout the community. “For example, we sponsor kids going to camp, support the Jewish Film Festival, [and] support some local choirs,” he said.

The federation also hosts local Holocaust memorial services, events marking Israel’s independence, and coordinates relations with provincial organizations and other community agencies.

“We also work closely with law enforcement agencies to track and document anti-Semitic acts,” he said.

One of the centres of Jewish life in the Greater Victoria area is the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria, out of which the federation operates. It includes spaces for community activities and festivities, an extensive library, and the Lox, Stock and Bagel deli serving Jewish delicacies, including popular potato latkes prepared during the Hannukah period.

The federation also has a presence at the University of Victoria, by being part of university’s multi-faith organization.

In short, the federation tries to nourish the Jewish community in many ways. “I see our major contribution as being a non-sectarian agency that offers opportunity to the Jewish community and greater Victoria and Vancouver Island community,” said Blades.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Anti-racism rally takes to the streets of downtown Victoria

Vigil for George Floyd planned at B.C. Legislature for 7 p.m.

PHOTOS: Greater Victoria School District reports 50 per cent of students back in class

Students are on a rotational schedule alternating two days a week

Hearing ahead for blind community’s B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case against Victoria bus stops

The Canadian Federation of the Blind says bike lanes can be dangerous

West Shore RCMP tags spray-painting suspect for drug trafficking

Spray-painting incidents took place over weekend

Saanich man dies from injuries after serious crash on Six Mile Road

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read